When looking through the TV series available to stream on Netflix and coming upon this, the last thing in the world I would have thought this word was would have been a woman’s name. But that is what it is, and it must be a fairly common one in Denmark. No one, when introduced to Dicte Svendsen, says “What a strange name!” Dicte is a reporter for a newspaper in Aarhus, and is played by a woman with a name even more exotic-sounding to me: Iben Hjejle (EE-behn YAY-leh) She has, naturally, a penchant for getting into trouble, sparring with police detective John Wagner. (Now there’s an exotic name!) She has a lot of issues to deal with, mostly centering around being forced by her Jehovah’s Witless parents to give up a child at the age of sixteen.
One of the strengths of the series, I felt, was that only about half of each episode was devoted to solving the mystery of the week. The rest is filled with the personal lives of the main characters. Dicte has strong friendships with two women, and problems with both her philandering ex-husband, her nineteen-year-old daughter, and her current lover. These are explored well, and Dicte does not always come off as a great mother or friend.
This one continues a streak we have been on of seeing TV series that are based in smaller towns of the country of origin. Foyle’s War was set in Hastings, Henning Mankell’s Wallander is in Ystad, Inspector George Gladlyin Northumbria, and this one in Aarhus. It’s a pleasant change from the usual settings of London, Stockholm, or Copenhagen.